Telemonitoring to Improve Heart Failure Outcomes (Tele-HF) was a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial designed to determine whether telemonitoring would reduce the combined end point of readmission or death from any cause among patients recently hospitalized for heart failure. What did you think about the findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)? The authors start by saying that "Small studies suggest that telemonitoring may improve heart-failure outcomes, but its effect in a large trial has not been established." Then, they conclude the paper with "Among patients recently hospitalized for heart failure, telemonitoring did not improve outcomes." Is this the final conclusion, or are we going to start over with the application and evaluation of newer telemonitoring technologies?
The authors definitely looked at a large sample of heart failure patients. 1653 patients were randomized to undergo either telemonitoring (826 patients) or usual care (827 patients). Telemonitoring was accomplished by means of a telephone-based interactive voice-response system that collected daily information about symptoms and weight that was reviewed by the patients' clinicians.
That type of telemonitoring technology sounds a bit archaic to me, but maybe it was considered "state of the art" for 2007. As we see advances in telemonitoring technology, what will we find in future studies?